LW Coronavirus Agenda Update 3/23

by Elizabeth 1 min read24th Mar 2020No comments

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Last week I announced the LessWrong Coronavirus Agenda, an attempt to increase knowledge by coordinating research between LW participants. This post is an update on that. If you want to skip to action items, check out the last section.

Last Week’s Spotlight Questions

Last week I spotlighted three questions I hoped to answer. Here's how they went.

What should we do once infected?

Tragedyofthecomments provided a great overall answer and Wei Dai a speculative answer (much more likely to be wrong, but very valuable if correct). I did some additional research and incorporated these into an overall answer, which was improved by additional suggestions from Julia Wise and steve2152. This answer should still change as we learn more, but is in a more finished state than the first two questions.

How can we estimate how many people are infected in an area?

We failed to find a dashboard that made either me or habryka go “yes, this is the one, I would be happy with just this.”

Honorable mentions go to two dashboards that are at least trying to estimate true caseload rather than repeating official testing numbers: Plague Plus, which uses reported COVID deaths to estimate prevalence, and to the Kinsa Smart Thermometer Dataset (suggested by Unnamed), which uses smart thermometers’ phoned home data to estimate the number of “excess” fevers.

Where can we donate time and money to avert coronavirus deaths?

Neither of us found what we were hoping for here either. We’ll continue to add opportunities to the link DB as appropriate, and welcome additional suggestions. Until then I’d suggest being on the lookout for high context opportunities that can’t be captured in answers aimed at a broad audience.

Other Highlights Of The Week

This 22 page document on the biology, economics, and logistics of testing for COVID-19, by Jeffrey Ladish, Edward Perello, Sean Ward, and Tessa Alexanian..

Oxygen Supplementation 101 from Sarah Constantin

This video from virology professor Michael Emerman explain the basic biology of coronavirus and epidemics

Changes To The Agenda

All three spotlight questions are being retired from the spotlight, although they remain open to new answers and updates.

“What is the basic science of coronavirus?” is skipping its moment in the sun due to being provisionally answered by the video linked above. That one requires a fair amount of bio background knowledge, so the floor is still very open for content aimed at people starting from square one. And of course if you find a better advanced introductory video, please include that as well.

After thinking about it, several members of the LessWrong team (plus me) have gotten more concerned about the economic effects of coronavirus, and I’ve added several economic questions to the list. Suggestions from Romeo Stevens and Eli Tyre have also been incorporated.

This Week’s Spotlight Questions

What is my prognosis (short term or long term) if I am infected with coronavirus?

We’ve attempted to answer these before, but that was weeks ago, and there’s a lot more information accessible now so I’d like to give it another shot.

What will the economic effects of a 3 week quarantine be? 3 months?

This is a deliberately broad question, in part because it’s not obvious what the right specific questions are yet, and in part because the right specific questions will vary a lot by locale and we want people to be free to answer for any locale they have information on.

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